There’s no denying that 2020 was a very, very strange year for us all. The world faced new challenges, and the adoption world was one of the many sectors impacted.
However, adoption professionals, birth parents, adoptive families and adoptees all faced these challenges head on, and adapted. Let’s look back at the obstacles we’ve faced and will continue to surmount.
Here’s what happened this year:
International Adoptions Were Halted
As the world struggled to slow the deadly spread of COVID-19, countries were forced to close their borders, and travel bans were enacted. For families in the midst of an international adoption process, this was devastating. Hopeful parents and children awaiting adoption became separated by national borders and oceans.
International adoptions have been on a consistent decline in recent years as countries encourage adoptive families to consider the many children waiting for a family within their own communities. COVID-19 may signal the end of international adoptions as we know it.
Fortunately, domestic adoption remains an option, even in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
Domestic Adoptions Continued, Sometimes at a Distance
Unlike international adoptions, domestic adoption was largely unaffected by COVID-19. The primary differences were new social distancing precautions. For birth and adoptive families, this meant fewer in-person meetings and more virtual talks. Many adoptions were even finalized virtually!
Although adoptive families still need to exercise reasonable caution when traveling within the U.S., domestic adoptions have been able to continue safely — a blessing in the chaos for the many families who grew through adoption in 2020.
Faith-Based Adoption Agencies’ Ability to Turn Away Same-Sex Couples Was Upheld
In a blow for waiting foster youth, more states have granted foster adoption agencies the ability to turn away prospective adoptive parents based on sexual orientation. Data consistenty supports the benefits that LGBTQ adoptive parents provide to the foster care system. Removing these families’ ability to foster or adopt through foster care only serves to harm the waiting children in foster care.
Same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals are now turning to private infant adoption agencies in the hopes of growing a family, especially the national non-denominational professionals. So, although LGBTQ families will still be able to pursue adoption through agencies, there are now more children in foster care who have been denied a family due to these laws.
Families Continued to Grow through Adoption
Despite the many challenges that 2020 brought, adoption professionals, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees persevered.
Pregnant women still sought out loving adoptive families for their children, adoptive parents continued to welcome children through adoption and children continued to find loving, permanent homes. Adoption professionals continued to work from home to help support pregnant women and adoptive families. Even at a distance, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees all continue to grow and strengthen their triads.
Many pregnant women considering adoption as well as would-be-parents who are considering adopting are worried that the uncertainties of 2020 mean adoption is no longer an option for them. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Adoptions continued in 2020, and will continue in 2021. Not even a global pandemic can stop the love that goes into each adoption placement, or the desire to give beloved children the best life possible.
If you’re considering adoption, 2021 may be your year. Reach out to a licensed adoption agency to learn more, and to take your first steps.